Transforming Urban Water Initiative: from Grey to Green Shorelines

A multi-partner effort engaging the water community with re-imagining how nature-based shoreline infrastructures can address flood risk and water quality concerns while providing critical ecosystem benefits.

What we do

The Transforming Urban Water is a collaborative initiative that advances innovative nature-based solutions for the San Francisco Bay shoreline in conjunction with wastewater treatment facilities. 

Led by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, the Transforming Urban Water initiative:  

  • Engages community partners in ongoing and potential nature-based solutions projects;
  • Supports capacity building and resource sharing on the state of the art of design, permitting, construction, planning and public engagement on nature-based solutions and horizontal levee projects;
  • Advances research and monitoring at the Oro Loma Living Laboratory Horizontal Levee;
  • Supports an integrated approach that brings diverse perspectives to the table through the lens of equity and resilience.

Nature-based solutions

The Bay Area faces multiple complex, interrelated, and expensive water management and infrastructure decisions motivated by the need to remove contaminants, restore natural services to aquatic ecosystems, secure potable water resources, mitigate sea level rise impacts, and replace aging infrastructure. In addition, impacts from sea level rise and extreme storms will increase the vulnerability of wastewater treatment facilities, often located directly adjacent to the shoreline.

Nature-based solutions are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.”

This project advances the following Estuary Blueprint goals and actions

Goals
Habitats and Living Resources
Water Quality and Quantity

Actions
Action 14